Turkey doesn’t want a “tattered and battered” Iraq
Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc says Ankara does not want to see Iraq as a “tattered and divided” country.
Arinc’s comments came on Monday after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed support for the potential separation of the Kurdistan region from Iraq and the creation of an independent Kurdish state.
Arinc, however, emphasized Iraq’s territorial integrity, and said “foreign forces” should leave the country.
Lawmakers in Kurdistan region welcomed the comments by Netanyahu, who had said the “Kurdish aspiration for independence” should be supported. Mardan Khadr Zebary, a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (PDK), said Kurdistan and Israel face the same enemies.
Earlier on Sunday, Kurdish Peshmerga forces seized heavy weapons and military equipment in Kirkuk governorate, claiming the area as part of their own territory. Masoud Barzani, the president of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), has also said that the KRG would not return oil-rich Kirkuk to Baghdad.
Kurdish security forces took control of Kirkuk amid fighting with militants from the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in June.
Iraqi armed forces have been engaged in fierce clashes with the ISIL terrorists, who have threatened to take their acts of violence to the capital, Baghdad. However, advances by ISIL have been slowed down as Iraqi military and volunteer forces have begun engaging them on several fronts.
Tensions have recently been on the rise between Kurdistan’s regional leaders and the central government in Baghdad as it has repeatedly slammed the Kurdistan region for exporting oil without Baghdad’s consent. Baghdad says it has the sole right to export the country’s crude, but the Kurds say they are entitled to market the resources of their own region.